What is the "best fit" for 35-year-old Aroldis Chapman in free agency this offseason? That's a tough one. You can immediately rule out every team he's ever played with, unless the Rangers opt to bring him back amid the championship afterglow.
Maybe another Royals-esque club, a lovable loser that's looking to get a bit less lovable while profiting at the trade deadline? Chapman still does (sigh) appear to have some juice, even though he's allowed (count 'em) three, four ... 100 hard-hit fly balls this postseason that would've managed to leave the yard if he were still rocking the interlocking NY.
There are precious few teams left in the league that Yankee fans would really rather prefer Chapman not try. After all, rooting for his meltdowns is far more fun than rooting for him to succeed. And if he never fails, what's the worst-case scenario? Some random team we're unbothered by wins a World Series?
But, according to Jim Bowden's "best fit" predictions for this winter's free agency, the only two teams that make sense in his mind are the incumbent Rangers and ... the Houston Astros. The Red Sox and 'Stros are really the only two teams in the game where Chapman's success would be harder to stomach than a bad tattoo. Rangers reunion or off-the-board champion, please!
Former Yankees Closer Aroldis Chapman's Free Agency Landing Spots: Astros, Rangers
Even in Bowden's defense of Chapman's rebuilt value, half the paragraph read like a Halloween bedtime story, with the ex-GM warning, "However, he’s still too wild, walking batters at a rate of 5.6 per nine innings. His best role at this stage of his career is to enter games with the bases empty in the seventh or eighth inning." Harrowing stuff. Everybody get in line!
Chapman has hung on by the thinnest of threads this October, looking like the same old roller coaster whether he's got the seventh, eighth, or ninth. In Game 1 of the World Series, Bruce Bochy put his managerial genius on full display by somehow managing to stay away from Chapman in an extra-inning game. How does he do it?! In Game 3, Chappy nearly surrendered a late 3-0 lead before a sprawling, backwards Corey Seager double play ball kept him in line.
Will the luck continue through a Game 5, 6 or 7 win, even as the Rangers keep dropping like flies? Flies who were drilled with 104 MPH Chapman fastballs? Or will Game 5 be the tipping point, the moment of long-awaited failure that brings Chapman to the arms of the Astros? Either way, this could get ghastly.